Food, clothing giveaway part of Trinity’s mission
COAL GROVE — By 10 a.m. Saturday sweat was coming down Pastor Darrell Ford’s face in rivulets. The temperature was already at 90 degrees.
But neither Ford nor the half-dozen other volunteers stopped sorting clothes and putting out lamps, dolls, even hair curlers on tables set up on the side yard of Trinity Assembly of God Church on Lincoln Street in Coal Grove.
Perhaps the message on their T-shirts gave the explanation — “For God So Loved the World,” John 3:16.
For the past 16 months the third Saturday in each month has meant long hours getting ready for the giveaway that attracts people from across Lawrence County and Ashland, Ky.
“All things here are donated to be given away,” Ford said, taking a break from the hot summer sun.
All around him, members of the church and those who take advantage of the monthly giveaway kept at their work to be ready for the 2 p.m. starting time. Back and forth from a shed in the side yard and the annex building across the street, they pulled out slacks, shirts, shorts, and dresses and stacked them on the tables.
“We would like to expand to give away furniture, but we don’t have adequate storage facilities,” Ford said.
From experience Ford knew what would go first.
“The large sizes, they go very quickly because they’re hard to find and children’s clothes go quickly, naturally,” he said.
Any thing leftover will be saved for the next month until that season is over. Then the items are donated to other organizations.
By a quarter to 12, a white van that could use a paint job came down Marion Pike and made the two left turns to get to the church. Inside were 30 boxes of toiletries, 1,500 pounds of cantaloupe and fresh corn on the cob, 300 loaves of bread and two crate of oranges.
By that time volunteers gathered on the steps of the church waiting to start unloading the van.
At the helm were Steve Stuhlreyer and his daughter, Hannah, who had made the trip that morning from Cincinnati.
“One of my children always comes,” he said.
About 10 years ago Stuhlreyer started Hands of Hope, a ministry dedicated to serving those with mental health issues or in poverty.
So far he has made 32 trips to Coal Grove to augment the work of Trinity Assembly.
“I’d like to expand through southern Ohio,” Stuhlreyer said. “This is the only place where I bring this amount of product.”
In Cincinnati, Stuhlreyer, who also receives donations for most of what he brings, will take food items to the elderly living in low-income housing, but no where else on the scale of the Coal Grove event.
“It is important for the church to reach out to the community and to make a practical difference,” he said. “Pastor Darrell and his wife have great big hearts and we wanted to partner with them.”